Breaking The Equality Bias
In recognition for International Women’s Day – equality today for a sustainable tomorrow #BreakTheBias Annemarie Cross shares 3 valuable lessons she learned through interviewing thousands of women in leadership and insights from speakers from various Women In Leadership Summits she has MC’d.
International Women’s Day – Equality today for a sustainable tomorrow #BreakTheBias
What is bias: Inclination or prejudice for or against one person or group, especially in a way considered to be unfair.
Had the privilege of interviews thousands of women from all walks of the life, backgrounds, different levels of seniority, have MCed online women in leadership summits and have learned so much from the speakers – along with what I’ve learned in and through my own career.
I wanted to share some of those insights and even hindsight in the hope it will inspire and empower you moving forward in your journey, whether you are CEO of your own business, or a leader in corporate.
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- Lesson 1: What lens are you looking through? Time to change the lens?A principle I learned years ago from one of my mentors is this: You will find the evidence you need to prove your belief is true.For instance, if you believe all cars people are untrustworthy, you will most likely use the same lens when it comes to any car salesman and you will be looking at constantly for things, they say which may be untrue, their mannerisms to see whether you can spot when what they are saying is a mistruth or a stretch of the truth. And, if anything feels out of place – you are walking out of their show room – right? You’ve confirmed your beliefs yet again that all car sales people are untrustworthy.Similarly, if you believe you are terrible at public speaking – if you ever do have the courage to stand up and speak, you’ll most likely have a list of a dozen things you wish you could have done better, you’re horrified at the number of ums and ahs, and again, you’ve just confirmed your beliefs to be true that you are a terrible public speaker.You can use this same principle of ‘you seek the evidence you need to prove a belief of yours is true when it comes to bias too.Now, I’m certainly not saying there is no such thing as bias or discrimination. There most certainly can be people and environments who very much are – I'll speak about those in a minute.However I want to see whether we have any specific bias, or lens we may want to refocus.Because, if you have a belief that most workplaces have a bias towards let’s say women leadership and there are no or few opportunities available and that people are out to keep you stuck and keep you down, or whatever other belief you may have – guess what. It most likely will be the case, because you are going to continue to look for evidence that proves your belief is true. Plus, another principle I learned that often comes into play is where you put your attention energy and focus on – expands. So you may very well find yourself in environments and surrounded by people who will have biases.
I recently MCd an online Women In Leadership summit for women working in tech and there were incredibly women leaders who had many successes and vast experience in leadership roles within the tech industry. Many of the women shared how thankfully they had never experienced any biases. In fact, some were shocked to learn there were biases – because in the experience they’ve had, they’d not seen this. In fact, one team she joined was an all-male team and they were incredibly thankful she had joined them, because they valued a female's perspective to their work. She’s gained incredible experience in that team and they continued to add more women to that working group.
Now, she could have said they had been bias as she was the first woman to join them. She could have been offended that they said they valued a female’s perspective as she could have said – I'm one of you and it doesn’t matter whether I’m male or female. Perspective is perspective.
But she didn’t. She saw herself as their equal, because she was, no better, no less than anyone of them – she had her skill etc, her unique approach and perspective and she continued to be a valuable member of the team and organisation. She’s had this approach throughout her career and hence why now she was in a respected leadership role.
So, let’s be mindful that the lens we are looking for, doesn’t have a bias so-uch-so that this is all we see and all we attract to ourselves. Change the lens, and BE the change you want to see in the world as the saying go’s.
Be the sort of person who uplifts others AND yourself, and together we can support one another to be the best we can be, while contributing to the betterment of others. How awesome would that be.
So, are you seeing bias? Or are you seeing opportunities? It matters, because it’s going to determine your results.
Breaking the Bias Lesson 2: Don't fight a losing battle.
Trying to fix a broken system that doesn’t want to adjust or trying to bring change and empowerment into an environment that doesn’t want to change – there comes a point in time where you are better off leaving before you end up becoming so worn down, you’ll end up burning out.
(I) Client: Loved her role – new management who changed part of the role that went against my client’s core values and a job she loved once, she ended up hating.
Get clear on your core values and what’s important to you and find an organisation that values this as well and it will be an environment in which you can thrive and add value.
(ii) Intraprenuers working within a company that is stagnant, and resistant to change and innovation.
By the way – if you haven’t heard the term intrapreneur before.
I’m sure you’ve heard the term Entrepreneur before which refers to a person who set up his or her own business with a new idea or concept. However, an Intrapreneur refers to an employee of the organization who is in charge of undertaking innovations in product, service, process etc.
Maybe you are an intrapreneur and don’t even realise it. I’ve also said entrepreneurs need to hire intrepreneurs in their business. An intrapreneur is the ying to the entrepreneurs yang 😉
By the way I’ve done an interview on Industry Thought Leader Podcast about Intrapreneurship with Dr Irena Yashin-Shaw –
- why intrapreneurs are essential to the health and longevity of every enterprise – large or small.
- How to be an influential intrapreneur and why this will make you an irresitible employee which will secure your career
- The three essential ingredients of intrapreneurialism that will unleash underutilised talent, transform your workplace and liberate potential.
Again, don’t fight a losing battle. Find an environment that values you and your ideas and innovations and who are open to making the right changes in order to progress the company.
(iii) Stagnent environment/cultures unwilling to change, even though they may say they do.
Example: Someone was hired within a change management role within an IT company, only to find out the role really wasn’t there to effect change, but rather continue to do what had always been done. Not what this person was hired to do. Simple changes that would have bought drastic improvements for a worn-out tech team was swept aside, and eventually the new change manager left, and management heads rolled.
(iv) Don’t fight a battle you can’t win. Create your OWN space – your OWN platform, and make your OWN rules.
Years ago, I invested in a high-level 12-month PR and media program and learned a lot – especially about how to secure the attention of media, build relationships so you could get known and featured on their platforms. You know the biggest lesson I learned? That chasing media attention to try and get a few minutes on their platform – with many of the things they say or do not really aligning with my values that I decided to start my own platform. And, Ambitious Entrepreneur Podcast Network was born and now hosts and produces my own podcasts as well as a number of alliance partners podcasts as well.
Are you trying to get your message and your expertise shared on someone elses platform or in someone elses company, yet not making any headway?
Then leave and create your own platform, your own business/compahy, and make such a difference with the message you share, the expertise you bring to your company that you secure market share and your competitors now come to you because they see you as a trusted authority and want and need your expertise.
I was speaking to a colleague about one of her clients who has an incredible message and expertise that is desperately needed in the area of mental health, however to get through all of the red tape and beau acracy – it's difficult for her to make any changes or impact. There are too many people and institutions involved, the system is well and truly broken and everyone has their own agendas, which sadly is not for the betterment of individuals but rather their own pockets.
I told my colleague that her client would be better off creating her own platform. Establish her own podcast, have the difficult conversations and ask the touchy questions, and share insight and wisdom that will make a difference, and get this information out into the hands and ears of people around the world who need to hear it. Don’t rely on other people’s platforms, where your message most likely will be manipulated to suit their agendas – don't fight a battle you can’t win.
Create your own space, your OWN platform, and make your own rules and be the change the world needs. You’ll make an impact – I’m sure of it because you will be the breath of fresh air your industry needs.
Lesson 3: Never dull your ‘magnificence’ to fit in to someone else’s ‘mediocre’
A few years ago I was working with a client and we were working on her Personal Brand and message and something she said – gave me pause.
We had identified some of her unique gifts and strengths was to ask probing questions that would ultimately lead to uncovering incredibly opportunities for breakthrough and subsequent change. It was her unique style and approach that enabled this type of facilitation in her maverick nurturing blend – that made her uniquely her. And, valuable for her clients as it had led to some impressive change transformation projects that had led to substantial business growth.
The comment she said was “Wow, what I was told NOT to do in the workplace – in fact, I was shut out of meetings because of doing this – is THE thing that is my gifts, my strengths. Yet over the years my direct management have been threatened by it and therefore told me NOT to speak up, and on some occasions requested I not attend leadership meetings.”
I wonder – have you been told something similar. NOT to do something or show up, or approach something in the unique style and approach you do because it threatens others. They want you to dull your magnificant to fit into someone else’s mediocre.
Don’t do it. Again, find an environment who will value it and nurture it, so that you can show up as your best self.
How many women are trying to hide empathy and other more feminine traits because they think they need to be a certain style in the workplace. It’s ridiculous. Be the best version of you – that can contribute to the projects and tasks at hand and support the delivery of valued outcomes. Never EVER try to be someone you are not because of the ridiculous and short-sighted opinions of others.
Example: Years ago in my career consulting practice I worked with a client who started her career working as an Office Admin and over the years had become a Change Management Consultant overseeing multimillion dollar IT change projects for semi-government organisations.
She had gone from strength to strength and as I wrote her achievement statements and reviewed her career I identified three distinct areas that she had continuously brought to the workplace that had seen her go from strength to strength and it’s something we can all use, whether we’re an executive working in corporate – or an entrepreneur working in our own business.
The three things are Aptitude, Attitude and Approach.
Let’s talk about Aptitude. Your Aptitude is your Talent. Your strengths, your skills and your knowledge.
Attitude if your character, your mindset, belief and frame of mind.
And, your approach is your Style, your temperament, how you react to specific situations and your sensibility.
Each of these are important and when blended together can be powerful in becoming distinguishable, uncopyable and irresistible.
How clear are you on your Aptitude, your Attitude and Approach? Can you define them? And, are you leveraging them to distinguish how you are better-served to support your ideal client?
So in summary:
- What lens are you looking through? Are you seeing bias or opportunities
- Don’t fight a loosing battle. Create your OWN platforms and own rules.
- Never dull your magnificence to fit into someone elses mediocre
In, closing can I just say how awesome you are. You really really are.
I am a Christian and know each and every one of us has been created by a creator who doesn’t do ‘You are wonderfully and fearfully made.” Fear means AWE – not fear as in being scared or overpowered. You are wonderful and awe inspiring. How cool is that.
I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful, I know that full well. Psalm 139:14
So if you haven’t been told that before – let me say that to you know.
Dubbed “The Podcasting Queen,” Annemarie is recognized as an industry pioneer, launching her first co-hosted podcast in 2008 to be the voice of inspiration and hope amongst the deluge of ‘doom and gloom’ after the GFC devastated families worldwide.
Over a decade on, she’s the author of: Industry Thought Leader: How To Go from Invisible to Influential (and Profitable) with a Podcast and continues to be the voice of inspiration to a global audience through her award-winning podcasts.
Annemarie continues to live out her mission of ‘Changing the World – ONE Message at a Time’, with her own podcasts, as well as by supporting Professional Services Businesses (coaches and consultants) who are experts in their field (yet feel like they’re the world’s best kept secret) go from Invisible to Influential (and Profitable) with their own Thought Leader Podcast.
- Website: www.ambitiousentrepreneurnetwork.com / www.annemariecross.com
- Twitter: @TheAmbitiousPod
- Facebook: @TheAmbitiousEntrepreneurShow
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